Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Weather Wonderland

Jennifer Slichter
Santa Rosa District Schools


This is the fourth lesson on weather in a unit called Weather Trackers. This lesson primarily deals with types of tools that scientists use to study weather. Students have the opportunitity to do a fun cooperative learning activity that will review other skills such as pictorial graphing.


The student knows examples of solids, liquids, and gases.

The student knows how to sort organisms, objects, and events based on patterns.

The student knows ways in which tools are used by scientists (for example, to gather information, to analyze, to calculate).


-[What Will the Weather Be Like Today?] Pearl Rodgers, Greenwillow 1998.
-Rain gauge
-Wind vane or picture
-Picture of satellite.
-Four poster papers or charts divided into three sections labeled with Weather Types, Weather Tools, Weather Clouds.(Make enough charts to allow for four or five per group)
-Pictures of various clouds from previous lesson on clouds.
-Four or Five sets of cards labeled rainy, stormy, sunny, warm, snowy, breezy, cloudy, sunny, windy, rainy rain gauge, thermometer, wind vane, radar, satellite, cirrus, cumulus, stratus
-Chalkboard or dry erase
-Worksheet (one per student)See associated file
-Vocabulary Chart started in lesson one and clip art pictures or drawings for the words


1. Locate book [What Will the Weather Be Like Today?] by Pearl Rodgers, Greenwillow, 1998.
2. Locate thermometer, wind vane, rain gauge,( or pictures of them) and a picture of a satellite.
3. Write Solid, Liquid, and Gas on the board.
4. Label posters or large charts with the words, Weather Tools, Weather Types, Weather Clouds. Divide into three sections. Make approximately four charts for a group activity. (Allow for four or five students per group)
5. Prepare cards labeled rainy, stormy, sunny, warm, snowy, breezy, cloudy, sunny, windy, rainy rain gauge, thermometer, wind vane, radar, satellite, cirrus, cumulus, stratus. You will need a set for each group-probably 4 or 5.
6. Prepare worksheets and make copies.


1. Introduce lesson by reading [What Will Weather Be Like Today?] by Pearl Rodgers. 2. NOTE: The book can be read aloud and discussed during your class Read Aloud time or in small groups prior to beginning the science lesson. Place the book in a center or make it available to students to look at during the day. If the book is read separately from the science lesson, conduct a brief review for students prior to doing procedure 2.

2. Discuss with students events in the story are certain to happen, might happen, or impossible to happen. For example, ask: Is it possible to rain hamburgers? If doing the complete unit, hold up cloud formation pictures from the previous lesson and discuss if rain is most likely, more likely or least likely to happen in each picture. Remind them about the cloud formations and what each can mean about rain. Tell students that we are going to discuss kinds and types of weather, as well as find out about different tools scientists use to gather information about the weather.

3. Ask students to raise their hands if they ever watch the news on TV and have heard someone come on to talk about the weather. Ask if anyone knows what that person is called. Write meteorologist on board or on the vocabulary chart started in the first lesson of the unit. Beside it write weather man and include a drawing or clip art so that students can easily "read" the word. Explain to class that a meteorologist is someone who studies the weather. Today we are going to learn about tools Scientists use to study weather.

4. Hold up a large outside thermometer. Tell the students that we use a thermometer to measure the temperature. Scientists use a thermometer to measure how hot or cold the temperature is on certain days. Ask students if their parents have a thermometer at home. Discuss different types. Explain that the temperature is measured in something called degrees. Explain that the more degrees, the hotter the temperature.

5. Hold up a rain gauge. Tell students that a rain gauge is used to measure the amount of rain that falls on a rainy day. Ask students if rain is a solid, liquid or gas. Review characteristics of solid, liquid and gas. Ask student volunteers to give examples of each. Tell the class that precipitation is another word for rain. Add precipitation to the vocabulary chart with a picture/drawing of rain.

6. Hold up a wind vane or picture of a wind vane. Ask students what they think it measures and if a wind vane measures a solid, liquid or gas. Tell the students that this instrument measures the direction that wind travels. Remind students that directions include north, south, east and west.

7. Tell the class that meteorologists use satellites and radar to measure speed and direction of wind and to find out amount of moisture in the air. Display the pictures or items for students to examine and look at during the rest of the lesson.

8. Play a riddle game and student volunteers answer the following questions: I am a tool that scientists use to measure rain. What am I? (rain gauge). I am a tool that scientists use to measure outside air temperature. (thermometer). I am a tool used to measure direction of wind (wind vane). I am a tool that scientists use to measure speed and direction of wind. What am I? (Satellite)

9. Play a weather game. Tell students to stand if a word that describes weather is called out and to sit if a word that describes an instrument or tool is called out. Demonstrate using a couple of words then play the game with these words: rainy, stormy, sunny, warm, rain gauge, rain, thermometer, snowy, foggy, wind vane, radar, foggy, satellite, wind vane, breezy. Student answers will be formatively assessed for correctness. Note those that are having difficulty so they can receive more instruction and practice.

10. Divide the class into four teams. Tell the class that each team will be given a chart divided into thirds. One side will be labeled Weather Tools. One side will be labeled Clouds. One side will be labeled Weather Types. You might want to go ahead and label the charts ahead of time. (Cards will be given to each group labeled rainy, stormy, sunny, warm, snowy, breezy, cloudy, sunny, windy, rainy, rain gauge, thermometer, wind vane, radar, satellite, cirrus, cumulus, stratus) Each group must place the cards under the appropriate category. Tape each word. You will need to read the cards for those who are having difficulty. Remind students to use the items displayed around the room as well as the vocabulary chart with words and pictures on it. Suggest that the groups allow you to "check" their placement of the words, prior to taping them down.

11. Make sure students understand what they are to do. Set timer for 10 minutes and begin activity.

12. Walk around and monitor as each group completes the assignment.

13. Have each group return to their seats. Review correct answers by identifying tools scientists use to study the weather. Then review the correct answers for the other two groups.

14. Explain to students we are going to review the information we learned yesterday. Draw the rain cycle on the board. Begin by drawing an ocean. Put a sun in the sky. Remind students that the sun will heat water on the Earth. Ask students what could be used to measure the temperature of outside air as the sun is heating the ocean? (thermometer). Remind students that the sun heats the water on Earth and water vapor rises and condenses to form clouds. Water droplets are formed and fall to Earth as rain and the cycle starts all over again. Ask students which kinds of clouds could mean rainfall. (cumulonimbus) Ask students what tool measures the amount of rainfall on a given day? (rain gauge). Draw a puddle on the board. Ask students to think of something that could cause the puddle to dry up sooner in addition to sunshine? (wind). What measures the direction of wind? (wind vane).

15. Hand out worksheet and go over directions orally.

16. Students complete worksheet. Take up and provide appropriate feedback.


Students will be formatively assessed at the end of the lesson using a worksheet. Students sequence the events in the rain cycle to form a pattern, identify examples of water as a solid, liquid, or gas,and differentiate between weather tools and types of weather. Students complete the worksheet with 80% accuracy or be given more opportunities to master the skills in the future.

Read each question to the students and give them time to answer it or fill in the blank. Circulate as you are reading and they are writing to make sure they are in the correct place and understand the question. Remind them to look at the items/words used today in class, as well as the displayed items and the vocab chart with words and pictures.

Return the worksheets and review the correct answers, especially with those who are having difficulty. Make sure the difficulty is not because of not being able to read or understand the question or new vocabulary. These students will need much reinforcement and additional practice.


1. The Beacon Unit Plan associated with this lesson can be viewed by clicking on the link located at the top of this page of by using the following URL: Once you select the unitís link, scroll to the bottom of the unit plan page to find the section, Associated Files. This section contains links to the Unit Plan Overview, Diagnostic and Summative Assessments, and other associated files (if any).

2. Set up a science center in the class room where weather tools are used for a period of a week. For example, attach an outdoor thermometer to the window and have students record daily temperature to make a graph. Place a rain gauge outside to measure rain fall daily or weekly. If classroom is located near an exterior door, place a wind vane outside and monitor wind direction periodically.

3. Do many concrete, hands-on activities for ESE and ESOL students.

4. The following Website by Franklin Online details how to make sample weather tools such as rain gauges, weather vanes, weather journals, etc. This is an excellent supplemental site to extend the unit on weather.

Attached Files

Weather Wonderland Answer Key     File Extension:  pdf

Weather Wonderland Worksheet     File Extension:  pdf
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.